The first step of resuming international cricket in the country began on Saturday as a two-member inspection team of Cricket West Indies arrived in Bangladesh to assess Bangladesh Cricket Board’s Covid-19 management and the security arrangements ahead of the forthcoming series.
West Indies are due to visit for two Tests and three ODIs as BCB looks to reschedule a slew of international series that has been cancelled due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation.Bangladesh had to cancel their tour of Pakistan in March and then their white-ball tour of Ireland in May as the pandemic situation worsened around the world. That was followed by the postponement of the Sri Lanka tour. Bangladesh’s two-match Test series against Australia and New Zealand respectively were also postponed.
Bangladesh were also looking to reschedule the tour of Sri Lanka in October but that went in vain as the visitors were not ready to accept the 14-day quarantine proposed by the Lankans.
Dr Akshai Mansingh (a member of the ICC & CWI Medical Panel as well as a CWI Director) and Paul Slowe (Security and Safety Manager) came to Dhaka to conduct their assessment that will run until December 3.
“They arrived here and see our COVID-19 management plan and the security plan ahead of their scheduled tour in January,” BCB cricket operation chairman Akram Khan told reporters on Saturday.
BCB had presented a comprehensive COVID-19 management plan to their West Indian counterpart for approval, taking their first steps towards the resumption of international cricket in the country.
CWI president Ricky Skerritt stated that his team wanted to ensure that BCB would be followed the recognised health protocol during the tour that the West Indies team had experienced in England.“We want to be sure that the protocols established in Bangladesh meet the requirement that we have established so far in the various tours we have been on,” Skeritt was quoted in a private TV channel recently.
“There are case studies to benchmark from. This is not going to be the first overseas tour. As you know, we did the first overseas tour to England. Certain standards were set, certain learnings were achieved, and I think once Bangladesh can meet these standards, I don't think there's going to be any major problem. We just have to verify in our own way that the situation will be safe for all concerned,” he said adding that there is a possibility that one Test could be reduced from the series considering they want to ensure there is no added pressure on cricketers who'll be stationed in yet another bio-bubble environment.
“There has been an option to reduce from three to two Tests but it is not finalised yet. It will be finalised within the next few days. The problem is (that) we have to look at it from all perspectives, that of COVID-19, scheduling and cost. These days, the pressures that COVID has brought to world cricket are significant in terms of revenue. We want to come to Bangladesh because we respect the relationship and the bilateral agreements that we have,” said Skeritt.
The duo is expected to have COVID-19 test today (Saturday) and will start their inspection, subject to clearance of health management of coronavirus.
They are expected to visit Chattogram as well during their stay as BCB is planning to keep it Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium as another option for the series.
Meanwhile, BCB is hosting the Bangabandhu T20 from November 24 after successfully completing the three-team 50-over competition in a bio-bubble environment and a successful completion of the tournament will give both the hosts and the tourists the confidence to go ahead with the tour.